Housing market shows positive signs

The housing market in Central Virginia showed signs of improvement during the third quarter of the year, according to the Richmond Association of Realtors.

Home sales in the region rose 23 percent from the same period in 2010, and pending sales (a strong indicator of final sales) were up 11 percent as compared to the third quarter of 2010.

“The fact that the housing market in 2011 has outperformed the 2010 housing market through the first nine months of the year is amazing, considering that buyers had the inducement of a tax credit to spur their decision making last year and no such inducement exists this year,” said Cheryl Hamm, president of the Richmond Association of Realtors and Central Virginia Regional MLS. “Of course, sales prices continue to lag, but we've known all along that sale price would be the last indicator to turn around."

The main factors dampening the resurgence of home prices are the foreclosure inventory and the economic uncertainty of buyers and sellers, Hamm said.

“The continued presence of foreclosures in the market makes it difficult for sale prices to rebound when the region is viewed as a whole,” she said. “We are seeing some modest price increases in certain neighborhoods; we've even seen some multiple offer situations. In many instances, whether a home is selling and for what price is dependent upon the factors that have always been most important – location, the condition of the home, and the sale price.”

As major banks have resumed with processing foreclosures, an initial foreclosure uptick may be in store, but in the long run this will help promote the movement of foreclosure inventory.

"If positive economic indicators continue to show promise, consumer confidence should also improve, Hamm said.

“Can I predict what the fourth quarter will look like or how 2012 will shake out? No. The fourth quarter is typically seasonally slow, so I would not be surprised if that held true for this year as well," she said. "As for 2012, there are just too many variables abroad and here in the U.S. for me to make a prediction."
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Community

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.

project:HOMES’ ‘Renew Crew’ helps Henrico citizen


The project:HOMES "Renew Crew" (above) recently assisted an elderly member of the Laurel Presbyterian Church in Henrico by clearing brush, trimming hedges and raking leaves in her yard.

The Renew Crew serves low-income, disabled and elderly homeowners in need of small-scale home repairs such as porch, railing and step repairs, exterior painting, clearing overgrown yards, tearing down outbuildings, wheelchair ramps and other critical repairs and accessibility modifications. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


The past couple of days haven’t felt like it, but it’s finally December and this weekend is packed with holiday events. Kicking the weekend off is Glorious Christmas Nights’ production of “Finding Christmas” at West End Assembly of God. Gayton Baptist Church’s annual Jazz Nativity starts tonight. Another annual favorite is tomorrow – the tree lighting at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. In search of Christmas concerts? The Virginians Barbershop Chorus will present its annual Christmas Show tomorrow at the Collegiate School and the Richmond Choral Society will perform Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will present the Dominion GardenFest of Lights nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 25 to Jan. 9 (closed Dec. 24-25). This year’s theme will explore "Living Color" and show how the world's kaleidoscope of colors speaks to people, impacts nature and influences culture. Visitors will see colorful translucent butterflies in flight, stained glass-inspired illuminations, sparkling white light transformed into a brilliant rainbow, floating flowers opening and reaching toward “sunlight,” fields of brightly colored blooms waving in the moonlight, illuminated spheres dancing in the sky, among other displays. The event features more than a half million lights, botanical decorations, trains, holiday dinners, family activities and more. Admission is $5 to $13. For details, visit http://www.lewisginter.org. Full text

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